College Campuses Tell Smokers to Get Lost

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Smoke-Free college campuses are a good thing.

This summer, a group of University of Kentucky students and staff has been patrolling campus grounds — scouting out any student, employee or visitor lighting a cigarette.

Unlike hall monitors who cite students for bad behavior, the Tobacco-free Take Action! volunteers approach smokers, respectfully ask them to dispose of the cigarette and provide information about quit-smoking resources available on campus.

The University of Kentucky is one of more than 500 college campuses across the country that have enacted 100% smoke-free or tobacco-free policies as of July 1. Although policy enforcement varies from school to school, most prohibit smoking on all campus grounds, including athletic stadiums, restaurants and parking lots.

An increasing number of colleges adopted smoke-free or tobacco-free policies in the past few years, according to American Nonsmokers’ Rights Foundation Project Manager Liz Williams. In the past year alone, 120 campuses were added to the smoke-free list.

Good for them and let’s lower the smoking rate even further – for better health.


Is Snuff or Cigarettes Worse for a Pregnant Mother?

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In a new study, the answer is snuff.

Babies born to snuff-using mothers were more likely to have breathing problems than those whose moms smoked cigarettes while pregnant, in new data from Sweden.

Snuff — ground tobacco that is high in nicotine but doesn’t generate the same additional chemicals as cigarette smoke because it’s not burned — is generally assumed be safer than cigarettes, said the authors of the new study.

That’s still the case for many people — but it’s not a good option for pregnant women, according to Dr. Anna Gunnerbeck, the lead researcher from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

The smokeless tobacco “may have a little bit different effect than smoking, because smoking has the combustion products, but it’s still not safe during pregnancy,” Gunnerbeck told Reuters Health.

These tobacco products are just bad news for a healthy lifestyle. Don’t smoke or use snuff – especially if you are pregnant.

Just say no!


Study: Menthol Cigarettes Make It More Difficult to Quit Smoking

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This is especially true for African American and Puerto Rican smokers.

Menthol cigarettes make it more difficult for smokers to quit, especially blacks and Puerto Ricans, a new study indicates.

Researchers at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey and the UMDNJ-School of Public Health analyzed tobacco use data from the U.S. National Cancer Institute and focused on white, black and Hispanic current and former smokers.
Click here to find out more!

Overall, the use of menthol cigarettes was highest among females and young adults, aged 18 to 24. When examined by race/ethnicity, menthol cigarette use was much higher among blacks (71.8 percent) than among Hispanics (28.1 percent) or whites (21 percent).

But there were wide variations among Hispanics: Puerto Rican origins (62 percent), Mexican origins (19.9 percent), and other Hispanic origins (26.5 percent), the investigators noted.

The study also found that smokers who used menthol cigarettes were less likely to quit than those who used non-menthol cigarettes, and that this association was strongest among blacks and those of Puerto Rican origin.

“Because our evidence suggests that the presence of menthol may partially explain the observed differences in cessation outcomes, the recent calls to ban this flavoring would be prudent and evidence-based,” the researchers said in a UMDNJ news release.

The study appears Aug. 15 in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

The United States Food and Drug Administration is considering whether they should ban these tobacco products.

But, we all know what happens when there is a market and something is outlawed. Remember American alcohol prohibition?


Poll Watch: Smoker’s Concern About Smoking Increases and Ties Record High

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According to the latest Gallup Poll.

Two in three U.S. smokers now agree that smoking is “very harmful” to adults who smoke, tying the most who have ever said so, but still trailing the more than 8 in 10 Americans and nonsmokers who say the same.

The findings are from Gallup’s annual consumption poll, conducted July 7-10, 2011, which measures Americans’ attitudes on many issues involving smoking, drinking, and weight. The views of “smokers” in 2011 are based on 170 respondents who reported smoking any cigarettes in the past week. The 67% of smokers who say smoking is very harmful is up from the past three years, matching the prior high found in 2004. Americans overall have barely budged over the past decade in their high level of agreement that smoking is very harmful to adults who smoke, with 81% saying so this year.

But, what about secondhand smoke?

There is less consensus among Americans that secondhand smoke is very harmful. The percentage of Americans who agree — 54% this year — has been remarkably steady over the past decade, even as new studies emerge linking secondhand smoke to various ailments. The 35% of smokers and 59% of nonsmokers who agree are also within the range that Gallup has typically found.

The chart:

But, the risks of smoking and secondhand smoke are well documented and acknowledged.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that cigarette smoking causes 443,000 deaths each year and that exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 49,400 of those deaths. Recent studies have also linked secondhand smoke to behavior and learning problems among children and hearing loss among teenagers.

So, what does this all mean?

Americans’ views about the risks of smoking and secondhand smoke have held largely steady in recent years, even as the percentage who support a ban on smoking in all public places surged to a record high this year. Together, the findings suggest that Americans have largely made up their minds about the risks of smoking, and that nonsmoking Americans want to see more action to protect them from the danger they perceive from secondhand smoke.

For their part, smokers have returned to a higher level of acknowledgment of the risks of smoking and secondhand smoke. Further, these views coincide with slightly lower levels of smoking overall; 22% of Americans now report smoking in the past week, compared with 28% in 2001.


Americans Do Not Support Bias in Hiring Smokers or the Obese

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According to the latest Gallup Poll.

More than 8 in 10 Americans think it is not right for companies to refuse to hire people just because they are significantly overweight or smoke. Fourteen percent say the practice should be allowed for each.

The views Americans express in the July 7-10 poll are essentially unchanged from prior Gallup readings on the same questions since 2005. In 2003, Gallup also found most Americans saying that if they were in a position to hire someone, it would make no difference to them if that person were overweight (79%) or smoked (74%).

While the new poll found that for the first time a majority of Americans want smoking to be banned in all public places, far fewer people support making it completely illegal in the United States. Taking all these findings about smoking together shows that Americans — while generally in favor of not having others smoke around them — appear mostly supportive of an individual’s freedom of choice to use tobacco.

But, they do favor higher health insurance rates or smokers but not for the very obese.

In contrast to the lack of support for hiring discrimination against smokers, the majority of Americans (60%) say it is justified to set higher health insurance rates for smokers. Thirty-eight percent say it is unjustified.

Similarly, Americans are more supportive of setting higher health insurance rates for people who are significantly overweight than they are of allowing companies not to hire such people (42% vs. 14%). However, the majority — 57% — say it is unjustified to set higher rates just because someone is very overweight.

Here is the chart:

So, what are the implications?

Most Americans say live and let live. As long as YOUR behavior does not affect me, then go for it.

However, a majority does now favor a ban in smoking in public places (as second hand smoke does affect others). But, if you want to eat yourself to poor health and literally to an early death, then it is your business.

As companies across the United States face the challenge of maintaining a healthy, productive workforce and grapple with rising health insurance costs, corporate hiring policies and insurance rates for smokers and very overweight people are becoming prominent issues.

Americans are clear on one point, though — they do not support allowing companies to discriminate against smokers or significantly overweight people when making hiring decisions. Whether a national consensus or corporate policy, however, has any impact on a specific hiring situation is a separate issue. The data confirm that if a man is making the hiring decision, he may be more likely than a woman to discriminate against a very overweight person — similar to what Gallup has found in the past.

Americans are more divided when it comes to how to set health insurance rates for smokers and the very overweight. While a majority say it is justified to set higher rates for smokers, a similar majority says it is unjustified to do the same for significantly overweight people.